PALACE DENIES DE FACTO MARTIAL LAW IN PLACE / UN: DISPARITY IN DEATH TOLL NORMAL

ALSO: 3,000 OR 4,000? CONFUSION IN RELIEF AND EVEN IN DEATH
 


ROXAS AND AQUINO

MANILA, NOVEMBER 16, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Delon Porcalla and Cecille Suerte Felipe - It is curfew, not martial law, that is being enforced in Tacloban City and in other areas in Leyte battered by killer typhoon Yolanda, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas clarified yesterday.

Roxas made the clarification in reaction to a report that devastated areas in Leyte were under a de facto martial law.

“That’s wrong. We were talking about curfew. I said there is a de facto curfew,” Roxas said in a text message to The STAR.

Asked by CNN’s Andrew Stevens whether martial law should be declared now that a curfew is in force, Roxas said: “Well, even the curfew is de facto, not de jure because the city council cannot get a quorum because they themselves are victims.” He told CNN that 1,000 more policemen had been brought in to keep order in devastated areas.

He said he was surprised that the Palace had to issue its own denial that a de facto martial law had been declared over the Leyte capital.

“I didn’t say there is martial law. What I said was local officials asked for it and the President just listened to them. I did not say that he OK’d their recommendation,” he said.

The DILG chief said Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Tacloban Mayor Albert Romualdez asked the President last Sunday to declare martial law. “He just listened and assured them of all out support,” Roxas said. Roxas was in Leyte along with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

At Malacañang, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while there is no martial law in Leyte, “we have been beefing up police and military presence there in response to the concerns of the citizens.”

“There are some reports that have actually mentioned that but as far as we’re concerned we just want to make sure, Secretary Roxas wants to make sure that the security situation is substantial in those particular areas as ordered by the President,” Valte said.

Valte told a news briefing, however, that she was not aware that the term de facto came from Roxas himself, particularly because the DILG secretary was quoted directly by CNN.

She said the context within which Roxas used the term was in reply to CNN’s question whether there was a need “to override the bureaucracy when it comes to the systems that are in place for relief.”

FROM THE INQUIRER

UN: Disparity in death toll is normal By Nestor Corrales INQUIRER.net 2:41 pm | Saturday, November 16th, 2013


A Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ survivor carries a child wrapped in a towel as he watches a helicopter landing to bring aid to the destroyed town of Guiuan, Samar Island Friday. AP

MANILA, Philippines—Amid confusion over the death toll from Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international codename: Haiyan), the United Nations on Saturday said the disparity in the number of fatalities “is normal.”

UN Public Information Officer Orla Fagan told INQUIRER.net that the death toll discrepancy between the reports of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC) is common during the initial stages of a disaster.

“The disparity is normal,” Fagan said a day after NDRRM spokesman Major Rey Balido dismissed UNOCHA casualty report as “not validated.”

“We do not want to create an issue with the government that’s why we are now closely coordinating with them,“ said Fagan.

NDRRMC chief Eduardo Del Rosario in a press conference Friday said the death toll increased to 3,621 from 2,360, and denied the 4,460 cited by UNOCHA in its report.

Del Rosario also said that the NDRRMC is the only agency that will provide official reports about the impact of supertyphoon that flattened large areas of the Visayas regions.

Fagan said the UN agency is closely monitoring reports of the government.

It will take a long time for before the Philippine government and the UN can account the total number of fatalities, Fagan said.

The NDRRMC has said that a total of 9,073,804 people in nine regions were affected by “Yolanda”, considered the strongest typhoon on record to make landfall.

The recent Situation Report from UNOCHA showed, meanwhile, that aside from the 4,460 deaths, 11.8 million people have been displaced across Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, MIMAROPA, Calabarzon, Bicol, Northern Mindanao, Davao and Caraga.

UNOCHA, as stated in its report, was working in coordination with the DRRMC, Department of Social Welfare and Development .

“Yolanda” barreled through Visayas and Mindanao with maximum winds of over 300 kilometers per hour or 195 miles per hour.

Yolanda leveled homes and buildings, toppled trees and posts and swamped villages with storm surges of up to nine meters.

3,000 or 4,000? Confusion in relief and even in death By Tetch Torres-Tupas INQUIRER.net 11:56 am | Friday, November 15th, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Not only are the relief operations disorganized but there seems to be some confusion in the number of dead from Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international codename: Haiyan) as well.

In a press conference Friday, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chief Eduardo Del Rosario said the death toll increased to 3,621 from 2,360 and denied the 4,460 cited by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in its report.

“That figure [from the UNOCHA] is not validated,” Major Rey Balido, NDRRMC spokesman, said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

Del Rosario also told reporters that the authorized agency to provide details about the typhoon was NDRRMC.

The NDRRMC also said that a total of 9,073,804 people in nine regions were affected by “Yolanda”, considered the strongest typhoon on record to make landfall.

The recent Situation Report from UNOCHA showed that aside from the 4,460 deaths, 11.8 million people have been displaced across Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, MIMAROPA, Calabarzon, Bicol, Northern Mindanao, Davao and Caraga.

UNOCHA, as stated in their report, was working in coordination with the Philippine government’s NDRRMC, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In Tacloban, the On-Site Operations Coordination Center (OSOCC or the Humanitarian Operations Center) near the Government’s Operation Center, as well as the Reception and Departure Center at the airport, is supporting the coordination of incoming aid.

“Yolanda” barreled through Visayas and Mindanao with maximum winds of over 300 kilometers per hour or 195 miles per hour.

Yolanda leveled homes and buildings, toppled trees and posts and swamped villages with storm surges of up to nine meters.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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